Saturday 31 January 2009

Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies, ABBA, and Moshpits of One


What do these three things have in common - you're asking yourself? Haha. Tonight I re-enacted a tradition that has been carried on for - oh - about 18 years or so...


Technically, you can't mosh with 2 people, but we tried anyway. Since I did not have my best friend here to mosh with, I tried it out on my own whilst listening to Abba. It pretty much was just me jumping up and down. For those of you who are either too young or too old to know what moshing is, it was something we did in the '90s - where large groups of young people would gather and listen to loud, obnoxious grunge rock music and bash about at random - pretty much beating each other up on the dance floor. I think Angel and I just realy enjoyed the pushing about and bashing bit. (crazy kids) For some reason, we always chose to bake our famous Chocolate Chip Cookies and listen to Abba whilst doing so. As I am typing this, I am still listening to Abba. Ah, good memories; the simplicity of youth. I bet nobody in the entire world has that sort of tradition. That's special - that is. I bet she continues on the tradition - even now - with her kids. I shall have to ask her later. The recipe is simple, and NOT healthy, but the secret is - MILK chocolate chips. You can use whatever chips you want, but tradition calls for Milk. If you have a mother that grew up during World War 2 and rationing, then you may have an entire freezer full of Milk Chocolate Chips - simply because she can. Sometimes we wouldn't even make the cookies, but go to the freezer - where we were absolutely certain to find them and eat whole bags of Chipits Milk Chocolate Chips. (this is likely how I wound up at 270 lbs) The best part was that Mum always thought she was being so sneaky - hiding them in the freezer, when we always knew they were there, and ate them all the time. So fun.

Anyway, here is the sacred recipe. I now share it with the world to enjoy and mosh and listen to Abba at will...

1 Cup Butter
1 Cup Brown Sugar
½ Cup White Sugar
2 Eggs
2 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Baking Soda
½ tsp Salt
2 ¼ Cup Flour
1 Bag of Chipits Milk Chocolate Chips (I obviously couldn't get chipits, so I used Dr. Oetker - :( )

Cream Butter and Sugars together
Add Eggs and Vanilla – mix well
Add Soda and Salt – mix well
Add Flour and thoroughly blend
Fold in Chips

Drop 1 inch bits of batter on an ungreased baking sheet
Bake at 350 ° Fahrenheit (or 175 degrees celsius) for 10 minutes
Let cool on cooling rack. Cookies will settle down as they cool.

Eat and Share :-)
Then Mosh to Abba.

Makes 2 and a half dozen.

Oh don't you worry, I won't be eating them all myself, I'll probably take them to church tomorrow and try to push most of them on my friends. It was just the tradition I was looking for really. Though, the batter was so very very tasty in bits.

*AMENDMENT* - Angel would like me to point out that it was all in the mixing. We often noted that. (it was her job - haha - that's evidently why I forgot)

Other news - I found candied ginger - finally!!!! They hide it in the baked goods section at Tesco's. Imagine, a candy as wonderful as crystallized ginger - hidden away in the corner at baked goods. Oh how happy it made me to find it. Also, after 8 weeks of waiting, 3 of my 6 boxes which I sent arrived today. I still have 24 more to send off to myself, but I'll get them - one at a time.

Sunday 25 January 2009

Happy Robbie Burns Day!!!


by: Robert Burns (1759-1796)

Ae fond kiss, and then we sever;
Ae farewell, alas, for ever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee!

Who shall say that Fortune grieves him
While the star of hope she leaves him?
Me, nae cheerfu' twinkle lights me,
Dark despair around benights me.

I'll ne'er blame my partial fancy;
Naething could resist my Nancy;
But to see her was to love her,
Love but her, and love for ever.

Had we never loved sae kindly,
Had we never loved sae blindly,
Never met--or never parted,
We had ne'er been broken-hearted.

Fare thee weel, thou first and fairest!
Fare thee weel, thou best and dearest!
Thine be ilka joy and treasure,
Peace, enjoyment, love, and pleasure!

Ae fond kiss, and then we sever!
Ae farewell, alas, for ever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee!


by: Robert Burns (1759-1796)

At Bannockburn the English lay,--
The Scots they were na far away,
But waited for the break o' day
That glinted in the east.

But soon the sun broke through the heath
And lighted up that field of death,
When Bruce, wi' saul-inspiring breath,
His heralds thus addressed:--

"Scots, wha hae wi' Wallace bled--
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led--
Welcome to your gory bed.
Or to victorie!

"Now's the day, and now's the hour;
See the front o' battle lower;
See approach proud Edward's power--
Chains and slaverie!

"Wha will be a traitor knave?
Wha can fill a coward's grave?
Wha sae base as be a slave?
Let him turn and flee!

"Wha for Scotland's king and law
Freedom's sword will strongly draw,
Freeman stand or freeman fa'--
Let him follow me!

"By Oppression's woes and pains!
By your sons in servile chains!
We will drain our dearest veins,
But they shall be free!

"Lay the proud usurpers low!
Tyrants fall in every foe!
Liberty's in every blow!
Let us do or die!"

And who could forget...


by: Robert Burns (1759-1796)


For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!


Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to min'?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?


And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp,
And surely I'll be mine,
And we'll take a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne!


We twa hae run about the braes,
And pu'd the gowans fine,
But we've wander'd monie a weary foot
Sin' auld lang syne.


We twa hae paidl'd in the burn
Frae mornin sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar'd
Sin' auld lang syne.


And here's a hand, my trusty fiere,
And gie's a hand o' thine,
And we'll take a right quid-willie waught,
For auld lang syne!


For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne!

On the 250th anniversary of his birth, I celebrate Robbie Burns Day. Ah Robbie Burns, national poet of Scotland. How your words have touched so many through the years. I love Robbie Burns - he is such a romantic really. I mean, the man really loved women - a lot of women, and had oodles of children to prove it. You might call him the romantic, poetry writing, slightly less sexist James Bond. Ah Robbie, a lover, not a fighter - however he was a true Scotsman - which you can see clearly in the above poem - Bannockburn. He has fueled the fire of Scotland in reclaiming it's sense of individuality from years of English oppression. I say that as an English person. However, I am a Scot too, (and Irish) so I feel it. Who wouldn't feel for the plight of Scotland regardless of their lineage.

So, in honor of the romantic Mr. Burns, I ate haggis. That's about the only traditional thing I did today (besides reading poetry). It wasn't even real haggis, but the Vegetarian variety. I had an opportunity to go to a Burns Supper on Friday but missed it - due to mismanagement of time. :-( It's ok though. My makeshift "Becky version" Burns Supper consisted of...

Hall's Vegetarian Haggis. I could have made my own, I found a recipe to do so, but it was just a lot less hassle to use a ready made store bought one. It was dead tasty too.

All cooked up (in the microwave - that's right) and ready to eat. Mmmm.

Dinner also consisted of...

Every type of veggie I had left in my fridge that I was concerned might go bad if I didn't use. I then covered it in the leftover peanut sauce that I mixed up last night for my Peanut Noodles dinner. (another JVR recipe)

The finished meal - leftover veg covered in peanut sauce, vegetarian haggis, and Black Current Squash - makes for a tasty, simple, Beck-ified Burns Supper. Hope you all have a lovely Robbie Burns Day yourselves. :-)

Saturday 24 January 2009

Snippets of My Dundee

Desperate Dan in the center of town - keeping an eye on things.

Sorry to all who may have been checking frequently to see if I've updated my blog. I've been busy, and a bit boring to be honest with you. Haha. Anyway, life is pretty good. I'm working now as a temp at the University of Dundee - School of Education, Social Work, and Community Education. It's really great. The people there are super nice, and the work isn't especially difficult (so looking for a tiny challenge), but there's plenty of it to be had. They've been short-handed for a while now. Other than that, I've just been making friends and trying to make Dundee my home. It feels like home to me now if I'm honest about it. I really like Dundee - a lot. My flat is coming together as well, a little at a time. I still don't have couches, but I will - soonish (some time in the next 2 months) I think actually, I'll get one sofa bed, and a couple of comfy chairs which I can curl up and read in. I need a reading chair, I haven't been reading at all lately, and you know how out of character that is for me. I've been walking to work (so no train reading as I did in Calgary). The walking is FANTASTIC!!! It's 40 minutes either way (which is less time than driving to work in Calgary), and it's hills all the way. It's been a great work-out every day - walking to work, walking from work. The from work is the hard part because I kind of live on the upper hillier part of town. I am developing some killer thighs from all this hill walking, and unfortunately, my scale doesn't like it much because I'm getting buff. Buff is good, heavier Becky is discouraging, however my brain says - that's totally illogical, and I really should be happy about the increased physical strength. Oh, and I found a friend who frequently hikes the Munros of Scotland and has promised that I can come along on his hikes. Yay. You know, that's half the reason why I picked Scotland, who doesn't love a good hike? I bought some fantastic hiking boots recently as well. So, yeah, that's what I've been up to. So, here's some pics I took this week of Dundee as I was out and about...

The reason Dundee is called "City of Discovery" - the RRS Discovery which was built in Dundee and Captained by Robert Falcon Scott to go to Antarctica for Antarctic Research.

The Penguins who guard the entrance to the Discovery.

Presbyterian Penguins Piously Parading at the Parrish of St. Mary's.

Thank-you, I do realize that I am an alliteration genius.

More of St. Mary's Parrish in the city centre. Apparently it has quite an elaborate history. It was built in 1190. Can you believe that? 1190!!! Well, originally - however it was burned down, and then rebuilt again in the 1480's, and then consequently was burned and rebuilt a couple more times after that. Though, it is fun to read the history of it. The Penguins are modern. (note that there are many of Pete's kind here - perhaps he could come and visit me? ;-)

A Dragon!!!! Again, in the centre of town, there's this fantastic statue of a Dragon - not far from Desperate Dan. There is an awesome Dundonian story about a Dragon and a well, which can be found here...

It's a story about a poor farmer who had nine daughters which he sent one by one (because the one previous to each took so long) to the well to collect water. So, he went looking for them, and discovered their mangled bodies entwined within the scaly folds of a Dragon - which had murdered each one of them. The farmer was distraught obviously, and Martin - who was a lover of one of the maidens was brave, and slew the dragon in honor of his love that was murdered. This accounts for some of the street names in Dundee - such as Strathmartine which intersects with my street - named after brave Martin. Also Ninewells Hospital is named for the story. It's pure Dundonian folklore. I love it.

One of the two big shopping malls here in Dundee - the Overgate. The other one's the Wellgate. Surprisingly - there's great shopping here in Dundee. Traditionally, people think of Glasgow as the centre of all good shopping, but I think we do pretty well here. Bunny - this one's for you.

This is where I would pick you up if you came to visit me - at the Train Station.

The building I'm working in at present - "The Old Medical School" at the University of Dundee.

More University Buildings of various names, histories, and stories. I'm not sure what any of these are, but they are fantastic buildings. I love the campus - it feels like a University Campus should feel like.

The Tay - isn't she lovely? (on a lovely sunny, green grass day in January)

So there you have it - there's my Dundee. I'm sure as I get to know it even more it will become more interesting to me - however it's pretty fantastic as is at the moment.

Wednesday 14 January 2009

I Love This Song...

I don't know about the other girls out there, but I've kind of grown attached to this song...


I think it's the outrageous dance routine that goes with it that draws me to it. I'm not even a real hip hop fan, but darn it, Beyonce strikes a chord with me on this one. It gets stuck in my head first thing in the morning and keeps my pace up on my morning walk to work. Thanks to B, I have discovered this version of the video in which this Shane Mercado does an amazing job of the entire routine. Truly, he is amazing. Even better than Timberlake...

...and that's saying something.

The New "Hill Factored" Plan

So, since starting the new job, and realizing that it is really a pretty huge work-out walking to work and back every day - what with all those hills; I have decided to alter the weight-loss plan a little. I have been burning up the calories, let me tell you, and am developing some killer thighs. I got home yesterday - literally with a self-digesting stomach, and decided that I needed to eat something quick. Unfortunately I ate the wrong thing, and too quickly - apparently my stomach had shrunk to nothing - due to increased metabolizing of the contents. My stomach was not happy with what I had done to it, what with filling it so quickly and all, and I had a wicked stomach ache the rest of the night. I'm surprised I actually got to sleep to be honest with you.

So, long story short, I am adjusting the plan. Marsha (and my knees) will be happy to hear that I will no longer be running. Also, I have acquired a video that my best friend suggested called - Turbo Jam which she swears has really tightened up her abs like you wouldn't believe. That seems to be one of my trouble areas for certain, so I'm going to give that a go. I haven't dropped into the library for a class once, and to be honest, it interrupts my walking time, so I probably won't now. New plan, as mentioned before will be...


- 3 times a week - 1 hour of Yoga
- 2 times a week - Turbo Jam
- Walking/Biking to get everywhere for Transportation (this one's also financial - 2 purposes)


- Eat 3 meals a day at meal times (this is really important for metabolism) with healthy snacks when hungry.
- Light meal for Dinner (example - toast and eggs, or salad, or cereal)
- Front load calories (Dayna's term) - Have most of my calories during the am - because in reality you need more calories to get through the day, and virtually none to get you through sleep - and you really don't want those extra calories sitting there when you do go to sleep because it just gets stored to fat. Don't be afraid to go to bed hungry - it's actually better in my opinion.
- Get plenty of Fibre and Essential Fatty Acids - Fibre and EFA's carry out excess Hormones and also lowers LDL levels. Excess hormones often are the problem with women trying to lose weight - a lot of women (like me) are Insulin Resistant which makes it harder to metabolize food.
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day - flushing toxins and keeping hydrated is really important and also aids in digestion.
- Gum Chewing also can't hurt in aiding digestion in my opinion - I don't know if there's any scientific proof of that, but I find it helps me.
- Get the daily requirement of 5 fruit and veg a day (in fact more is helpful) - this also adds to fibre intake.

The diet, as you can see - remains pretty much the same. However, tonight I strayed from that as well, I must admit - again my stomach was pretty empty, but I was sensible. I went to my local chippy - "Gigi's" FANTASTIC selection, I must say, friendly people, reasonably priced, and overall, a great experience. Tasty food too. Though, that will not be every day, it was a pleasant break from the every day eating experience.

So, yes, this is the plan as adjusted. I found that most of last year, this adjusting occured quite frequently according to my needs. You can do that you know, in fact it's a good idea because it shakes things up, and your body doesn't get into a routine. It's important to be realistic as well, and perhaps I wasn't factoring in the massive hilled streets of Dundee. It takes 40 minutes give or take for me to walk to work - which is infinitely better than an hour of traffic in Calgary. I love my life.

P.S. I promise that I will start taking pictures of my new world. I keep forgetting. It's fun to just live for a bit and not be "obsessive picture taking Becky".

Monday 12 January 2009

First Day At Work Update...

Today I had my first day of work at the temporary position I'm working on at the University of Dundee. I am working at the School of Social Work and Community Education. Which - incidentally - one of my new friends here in Dundee is a student of. I actually saw her name a couple of times today. Anyway, the people there are really really nice, and they didn't really overload me with work or anything, but gave me some lovely simple-like jobs to do - such as entering student applications into a spreadsheet format, and entering the interview details, etc on the spreadsheet. One thing that was kind of cool is that - I had an entire office - all to myself. That's right, my very own - (well, the sick person's) office. It's true. Plus, there was this lovely lush lounge with couches all over it, and computers available for any of the staff to use for their email or whatever. The office is in the "Old Medical School" building - which is pretty cool in itself, because the building is somewhat historic.

Another great thing about working there is that I am a mere 3 minute walk from my friend's office, and I'm sure my other friends who work/study in the area are not far away either. I have an hour lunch break, and am free most days for anybody that may be reading this, and may want to meet for lunch. Haha. And, I LOVE to go out for lunch. (see previous posts with various food pics) How I miss my lunch girls - you know who you are. Anyway, that's the first day news. Not much to tell, but it went pretty smooth overall. I am hopeful to get one of the "Department of Humanities" positions I applied for, because I do enjoy working in that part of the city, and would like to try something a little bit different on a permanent (not just temporary) basis. Well, permanent as in, until one day when I decide to do something else different. Such as, go back to school myself. I was thinking about that today, a lot. I suppose it's bound to happen when you see all of those applications, and the details about whether or not they will achieve their heart's desire and get into the program they want to. I felt a little sad actually for the ones that didn't make it. I really would like to get into the "BSc - Food, Nutrition and Health" program at Abertay University actually. Perhaps that's something I'll have to look into in the near (the next 6 months) future, and figure out what I need to do to get into it. I've put off real post-secondary education for far too long, mostly because of funding or lack thereof. I'm hopeful that life will start to go somewhere for me here in Dundee. Hopefully in all aspects, but we shall see about that.

Sunday 11 January 2009

Tell Me...

How could you not love this face?

Or this one?

Or even this little Muffin?

I have a friend who swears that these breeds are not real dogs. We get into a debate about it every single time dogs are mentioned. Though, to me, they are my favorite dogs of all. Look at their sweet little faces, and they're furry fat roll covered bodies. Plus, they are sweet little companions. I love the flat-faced dogs, and I think they are the best. I mean, I'm a fan of all dogs, don't get me wrong. A dog is a man or woman's best friend - no matter what breed, hands down. A girl is entitled to have her favorites though.

I've always wanted dogs. Sigh, I could use a canine companion at the moment. I don't think my landlady would approve though, plus, I'll be at work all the time, since I got a temp job for Monday. (at the University of Dundee department of Social Work and Community Education) Dogs need someone around, they shouldn't be couped up in a flat all day long. So, my dream of canine companionship will have to wait until a future date when I can offer more of my time and attention. (not to mention £££) I'm up awfully late at the moment. I'm baking. Yes, that's right, baking again. I took a nap this evening, and therefore, am not tired, sigh. Am going to bed very soon though. Tomorrow I'll be up early-ish for church, and then, tomorrow night, I'll be in bed early for my start on Monday. Wish me luck. You know I'll need it.

Thursday 8 January 2009

Her Majesty Approves of My Breakfast Cereal

By Appointment to Her Majesty the Queen
Becky's Bonny Babble
Blogger and Babbler

Just kidding - gosh I hope I don't get in trouble for using the Royal Warrant like that. It's all in respect Your Majesty - not that she will ever read my blog.

Anyway, I have noticed that an awful lot of things I use are approved of and/or used by the Queen. You know how there's a few things here and there in Canada like that - like Pear's Soap for instance...

Well here - it seems to be on everything I buy. In fact, I hardly buy something now without making sure it has the Royal Warrant on it first. I'm just kidding of course, but here is a list of things in my household at present that have the Royal Warrant on it...

- Hoover Clothes Washer/Dryer Combo
- Fairy Dish Washing Liquid
- Pumpkin Seed Ryvita Crisp Bread
- Schwartz Ground Cinnamon
- Schwartz Curry Powder
- Lyle's Black Treacle (Molasses)
- Lyle's Golden Syrup
- Silver Spoon Caster Sugar
- Silver Spoon Icing Sugar
- Quaker Oatso Simple Apple and Blueberry Oatmeal
- Kellogg's Special K Red Berries Cereal
- Kellogg's All-Bran Cereal
- Robinsons Fruit Squash - Apple & Blackcurrant

That's everything I could find, however there are oodles of things like that here. Tractors for instance, Medicines, Electronics, Horticultural supplies, Pest Control, and just about anything you can think of. How fun is that? I love it personally that the Queen approves of my Breakfast Cereal. It brightens my morning.

Monday 5 January 2009

More Wonderful Gifts From Julie

Tonight, I made this lovely Berry-Lemon Loaf which tastes quite scrumptious I must say. I know the other day I said I was front-loading the calories, and I am, but I couldn't make this beautiful loaf without just trying it a little. Don't worry, I'll eat it in the morning tomorrow, and also Wednesday, and I plan to share some with friends if they come to visit. That way - it gets more wear. It turned out so lovely, that I thought I'd share the recipe with you (plus I promised Michelle I would) The recipe come's out of - my friend - Julie Van Rosendaal's book "Starting Out - The Essential Guide to Cooking on Your Own" on page 242. Here's the recipe...

1/4 Cup Butter or Margarine, softened
1 Cup Sugar
Grated Zest of 1-2 Lemons
2 Large Eggs
1 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 Cup Milk
1 1/2 Cups Fresh or Frozen (unthawed) Blackberries, Raspberries, or Blueberries

3 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
1/4 Cup Confectioners' Sugar

"This is a great way to use berries when they're in season, but the loaf tastes just as good with frozen berries. Make sure you keep the berries frozen right up until you add them to prevent their juice streaking through your batter and turning it blue. Some cooks toss their berries with a bit of flour first (use some from the recipe rather than adding more) to help absorb any excess juice. Leave the berries out completely for a plain lemon loaf." (Julie's words - not mine)

1 - Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius). Spray an 8 x 4 inch loaf pan with non-stick spray.
2 - In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and lemon zest with an electric mixer for about a minute, until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3 - If you want, toss the berries with about a tablespoon of the flour to prevent them from releasing their juices into the batter and turning it blue. put them back into the freezer until it's time to use them. in a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add one-third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir by hand just until it's combined. Add half the milk in the same manner. Add another third of the flour mixture, the rest of the milk, and the rest of the flour mixture, along with the berries. Stir by hand just until your batter is blended.
4 - Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, until it's cracked and golden and the top is springy to the touch. Poke the top of the loaf all over with a bamboo skewer or toothpick. Stir together the lemon juice and confectioners' sugar and brush or drizzle over the loaf while it's still warm. I like to brush half over the top, let it soak in, then brush on the rest. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.

Makes 1 loaf

And that - my friends - word for word - is Julie's fantastic recipe for Berry-Lemon Loaf. I am dead impressed with how it turned out. I mean - well the berries all sunk to the bottom, but other than that - it turned out perfect. I'm sure Julie has some magical way of keeping them from falling to the bottom, or maybe I didn't stir it quite enough. Meh, it still tastes fantastic. Tomorrow, I may make Choclava. This is the best part about having my own kitchen, and having a lot of time on my hands. Hopefully I won't have a lot of time on my hands for too much longer though. :-/

Sunday 4 January 2009

Things That Make Life Worth Living in Scotland

Chocolate - of British origin and also from various European Nations - obviously way better than anything in Canada and we won't even mention the wax they serve in that other country.

Cheese - Cheap and flavorful and of many different varieties - they also seem to be all the same price regardless of the variety as well.

Produce - You would not believe the freshness, the bounty, and the quality of ALL of the produce in this country. We have no idea what produce is in Alberta - seriously.

Haggis and Deep Fried Mars Bars - Self Explanatory

Shopping - There's lots of it, and it's usually quite enjoyable. Every guide book will tell you that walking is the national past time here, but it is only so if it's in a shopping district. Scots are determined to find the best deal on everything they need. There are deals - deals a plenty.

Argos - The greatest thing ever. Remember Consumer's Distributing? Same story here - I can spend hours looking at the stupid catalogue.

Lidl and Aldi - So fun - and fun foods you'll not find anywhere else. Grocery stores with loads of European products.

Water Softness and Humidity - Yes my hair takes a beating - but there's hair product for that, however, the water tastes fantastic, AND my skin has never been happier. No more velcro hands for me.

Weather - Infinitely better than what I left behind. Sorry to gloat my friends, but the temperature here never really goes below 0 much, and it probably will never be 20 below zero. The scots might freak out about that, as they get freaked out about 0.

Scenery - there's no end of scenery in Scotland. Even being in the city is refreshing for someone from Alberta.

Robbie Burns Day - Coming Soon on the 25th of January - don't worry I'll write all about it when it occurs.

Bag Pipes - sometimes when you're walking down a major Scottish street, you hear them at random - just out of nowhere. Something stirs in the soul when you hear the pipes calling.

Lovely Old Folk - Cute little old people with adorable accents. It's true - they're everywhere. They meet you and instantly they love you and hug and kiss you on the cheek. So adorable.

(really I just posted this pic because this is a cute little old scottish man I would LOVE to meet - *wink wink - nudge nudge*)

Travel - You can get to anywhere in Europe for quite cheap via train or plane with no trouble at all.

Proximity - Everything is so close by - you can walk anywhere in this city in less than half an hour it seems - at the very least in less than an hour - which is nothing for us Canadian folk.

Television - Again - 10 times better than anything in North America

Having People Come Visit - Which hasn't happened yet, and likely shouldn't happen until I have somewhere for them to sleep (need sofa beds). But once that occurs - you are very welcome to do so.